Everyday Cheapskate: 6 Things You Should Never Plug Into a Power Strip
Whether you live in a house, apartment, condo, mobile home or dorm room, having enough electrical outlets to handle all of the accessories, appliances and tools you need can be a challenge. And that's when knowing how to safely use a power strip sure comes in handy.
While one of these devices can offer a reasonable solution for too few outlets, it's a mistake to rely on power strips too much. Or to use them incorrectly. For safety's sake, never plug these items into a power strip.
You need 'em hot and ready to go, which makes a power strip on the bathroom counter pretty much a godsend when you have only one outlet. Here's the problem with that: Hairdryers, curling wands and flat irons are required to produce heat, which means they pull large amounts of amperage to get them good and hot. Plugging them into a power strip is just asking for trouble. These types of hairdressing appliances must be plugged directly into a wall outlet -- preferably one with a ground-fault circuit interrupter breaker to avoid danger should those tools accidentally be exposed to water.
REFRIGERATOR AND FREEZER
These appliances pull too much current for a power strip because they are continuously cycling on and off. That will quickly overload a power strip. These items need to be plugged directly into a wall outlet dedicated solely to that appliance. If you plug other appliances into that same outlet, provided it's a duplex, you run the risk of tripping a breaker.
It seems pretty lightweight to heat up water, right? Not so fast. Most coffee makers need a good deal of amperage to turn gloriously roasted coffee beans into a hot beverage -- more than a power strip can guarantee to deliver. Make sure you plug the machine directly into a wall outlet.
Here's the clue: It has exposed wires inside those slots that heat up to become red-hot. It takes a lot of current to fire up those wires, which can easily overload a power strip. So, no, do not plug your toaster into an extension cord or power strip. Ditto for your toaster oven.